I often feel like the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are full of paradoxes. You're excited but exhausted, busy but you want to spend time reflecting on Advent. You plan big meals, get together with family, attend office Christmas parties, and eat until you can't stuff your face any more. Then there are those random few days thrown in when you actually have to cook a regular, weeknight meal. And that can sometimes seem more daunting than the holiday feasts.
This recipe is for those weeknights (although, to be honest, I'd entertain on the weekends with this one, too). It's a "pour a glass of wine, light a fire in the fireplace, and stare at the beautiful Christmas tree your family just decorated (while pondering how you're going to rearrange the ornaments your kids hung without them noticing)" kind of meal. Not that I'd ever change my kids' decorating...
It's a meal that's relatively inexpensive to make, but packed with flavor. Red wine and Parmesan cheese make it the perfect comfort food, but it's full of kale - and everything is healthy when there's kale in it, right? Leftovers also heat up really well, so you've got lunch covered tomorrow.
So in the midst of the holiday craziness, I hope you get some quiet evenings, and I hope those evenings are still full of really good food.
Linguini with Red Wine, Corn + Kale
Yields about 6 servings
1 pound linguini
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium shallots, minced (about ½ cup)
10 ounces chopped kale*
1 cup dry red wine
2 (15.25 ounce) cans corn, drained
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for topping (optional)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded, plus additional shavings for topping
Cook pasta according to the package directions, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water when draining. Set the reserved water and cooked pasta to the side.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Turn the heat to medium. Stir in the kale and the wine. Cover and let the kale wilt for about 3-4 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Add the corn, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently.
Turn the heat to low. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cooked pasta, shredded Parmesan, and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss well, until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are fully incorporated. At this point, if the pasta seems a little too dry, add in a bit more of the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the right consistency. (I typically end up needing about ½ cup of pasta water total.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I usually add nearly a full teaspoon more of salt.) Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan shavings and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
*Many stores (such as Trader Joe’s) sell washed and ready to use kale in 10 ounce bags, which is perfect for this recipe!